Mia Cucina – Hillarys

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Mia Cucina Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
As a Perth food blogger, I get a lot of people telling me about their new finds, old favourites and hidden gems they discover. I’d been told by a few separate people that I must try Mia Cucina at Hillarys Boat Harbour. It’s found on the northern side, near the boat ramps and has a stunning view over the harbour.

We dined with a group of our friends. Little Chef was also in tow, as was the beautiful baby Grace, it’s family friendly and has plenty of space for prams. We had a front row seat of the beautiful sunset – I’d definitely recommend booking a table right on the window.IMG_0671

As we were all starving and feeling gluttonous we decided to have entrees and mains. Chef chose the Calamari ($17). He enjoyed the tender calamari, which was lightly fried with a touch of chilli. It’s served with a crisp salad garnish and tartare sauce for dipping.IMG_0675

I’d been told to try the arancini, $17, so I ordered the traditional Italian risotto balls. These are filled with pork mince, prime beef, mozzarella cheese & peas and coated with crisp golden breadcrumbs. I liked these, though I think they could have done with a little more seasoning.IMG_0672

I experienced a little food envy as Mrs C tucked into her baked goat’s cheese, $18. The ooey-gooey cheese was baked with honey, apple and rosemary, with toasted Turkish bread on the side for dipping. IMG_0674

For main I had the beef cheek triangoli, $28. The hand-made ravioli triangles are filled with tender braised beef cheeks, nutmeg and parmesan. They are then pan-fried with white wine, prosciutto, fresh spinach, cherry tomatoes and finished with truffle oil.  It promised so much and looked hearty and delicious. Unfortunately, as I ate the dish I discovered that their chef had been too heavy handed with the truffle oil and it completely overpowered all the flavours. A shame, as all the other components were spot on (though taste-wise it was hard to tell!). This comes in main and entrée size and I wish I’d chosen the smaller size – not only as I found the flavours too rich, but it was also a very filling dish.IMG_0679

Chef, ever the meat lover devoured the di carne pizza, $25.  It was topped with cacciatore sausage, prosciutto, shaved ham & bacon, fresh tomato, red onion & mozzarella. Mr H really enjoyed his pollo (chicken) pizza too.IMG_0678

All in all, I liked Mia Cucina, though it didn’t wow me. The simple meals are reasonably priced and the café is in a beautiful location. I think on this occasion I didn’t get very lucky with my own menu choices, as everyone else on our table enjoyed their meals.

LOVE Italian food? Check out my other blogs on Italian restaurants in Perth!

Il Lido – Cottesloe

Bravos – Vic Park

Café Avellino – Wanneroo

Jamie’s Italian – Perth CBD

What’s your favourite Italian spot in Perth?

 

Suburban Table – Frozen Meals {CLOSED}

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Suburban Table Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Imagine if you could enjoy the food from your favourite restaurant in the comfort of your own home…

Recently, I was stoked to be contacted by Chef Josh Prosser, from the restaurant Suburban Table in Mosman Park. Suburban Table is a little bit special for a number of reasons. The term “hidden gem” is so cliché and it gets overused, but in this case it is 100% true. The food is totally rave-worthy. Josh’s menu is a mix of classic dishes, with a big measure of Asian influenced dishes too.  His partner Kelly runs the front of house, she is very welcoming and with her warm personality and Josh’s top notch food, it’s easy to see why they have so many regular diners. Also, Suburban Table is a little special to me as it was my very first restaurant review for the Post newspaper a couple of years ago!IMG_0902

Chef Josh invited me to try his new range of frozen meals and I jumped at the chance. At our house, to get out of cooking for a week is our idea of heaven! People who aren’t involved in the hospitality industry often have quite a romantic notion about Chefs. They think they are passionate creatives who are always cooking delicious food – even at home. Whilst I’m sure this is true for some chefs in their down time, the majority will head to the nearest Maccas drive through and grab a burger after a 12 hour shift in a hot kitchen. After a busy service, all they want is something quick, easy and filling.

IMG_0901I popped along to their Glyde Street kitchen to pick up my gifted frozen meals. There were so many tasty meals to try – what a feast we were to have! Kelly even packed some gingerbread ice-cream into the box of goodies – yum! Luckily, I had cleared some space in my freezer at home.

Oh and just to prove my previous point – this was sitting on my kitchen bench when I arrived home #cheflife hahaIMG_0913

That night, Chef happened to be working till 8pm, so it was the perfect opportunity to try a couple of meals. Unsurprisingly, I made a bee-line for the Thai Pork Belly Curry. As well as tasty shredded belly, the mildly spicy curry was brimming with green beans and sweet potato too (I love my veggies!). It was a very tasty dish to start off with.IMG_0917

I also had steamed rice with my pork belly curry. Josh included a nifty little serve of rice, wrapped in a banana leaf. A couple of minutes in the microwave and TAH-DAH – perfectly cooked rice!IMG_0925

Later that night, Chef gave me a call when he was leaving work and I popped the Baldivis Rabbit Pie into the oven. By the time he got home it was ready and piping hot.IMG_0939

One night we cooked up a couple of the Thai style curries and shared them. We had Beef Massaman Curry and Thai Red Chicken Curry. It was like having Thai take away, but way tastier!

Each meal is approximately one serving. I shared a few of them with Little Chef, so I bulked those out with a side serve of veggies and some Suburban Table frozen creamy garlic mash potato. On another frozen meal night we had the Beef Burnginon – it is packed full of rich meaty chunks, that melt in my mouth. Practically licking the bowl  Little Chef said “Your cooking has got better Mummy”. Sheepishly I had to admit that it wasn’t me who made it – I had a lot of help!IMG_1140

Chef was having a very busy couple of weeks at work – working 12 hour shifts and not getting home till after 8pm most nights. He loved having something delicious to look forward to after a long day in the kitchen – it was a break from my usual spag bol! He loved the Yellow Goat Curry. His favourite out of all the dishes he tried was the Baldivis Rabbit Pie.

For me, its very difficult to chose a meal I enjoyed the most. With every meal I tried, I found a new favourite! I particularly savoured the Coq au vin, made with traditional speck bacon, mushrooms, shallots and thyme. I also loved the Red Emperor Fish Pie. It was full of fish chunks and mushrooms and topped with a deliciously crisp pastry crust. Little Chef tried a little bit – then wanted the whole lot!IMG_0935

Each meal has been carefully prepared and has such a wonderful depth of flavour. They are perfect to have in the freezer as backup for those busy, unorganized weeknights or when you’re feeling a bit under the weather. They’re also great if you just want a break from the kitchen and don’t have the inclination to cook.

A big thank you to Josh and Kelly for the five star frozen meals!! The meals are available from $15 and of the very highest quality. For more details check out the Suburban Table website . Also, find them over on Facebook.IMG_0907

The Shipping Lane – North Fremantle {CLOSED}

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The Shipping Lane on Urbanspoon

Chef and I got the hot tip about a brand new restaurant that opened in North Fremantle recently. The Shipping Lane is named after its spectacular view across Gage Roads. On this clear sunny day we could see many ships sailing the lanes on the Indian Ocean.IMG_7638

On the surface The Shipping Lane looks like your everyday coastal café. If you venture inside, you will find out that it is much more than that. In addition to the regular kitchen, there is also a “raw” sushi kitchen, out of which some amazing sushi and sashimi creations are made. You can sit to the sushi kitchen bar and watch your meal being made by the chefs.

The interior is light and bright with a seaside vibe and a big nod to its location near to the Fremantle docks. There are murals of the port inside and a big shipping container feature on another wall. There are lots of seating options, high tables, dining tables and some comfortable lounges – you can also dine alfresco, overlooking the stunning sandy dunes of Leighton Beach.IMG_7674

On this day we are lunching. The brunch menu runs from 8am to 3pm daily. The cheery waiter seats us by the window, swiftly delivering us water and menus. The brunch menu is full of mainly breakfast style dishes, with a couple of burgers and buns thrown in for good measure. I order from the sushi menu.

We order some drinks. The Shipping Lane is currently “sailing without a liquor licence” so BYO is encouraged. I start with a Rainbow Juice served in a jar – a tasty and healthy concoction of beetroot, apple and ginger. Chef sips on his hot coffee. They roast their own coffee at The Shipping Lane. The Juniper blend is used, which makes for a rich and well flavoured coffee. If you’re in a rush, you can also grab a takeaway coffee and bagel from the Shipping Lane’s providore. The providore sells many other food staples and the daily newspaper – handy for the residents living in the apartments above. GetAttachment1

The succulent Wagu burger ($23) tickles chef’s tastebuds. It is jam packed with bacon, affumicata, onion jam, salad greens and tomato. In a mini frying basket are crisp hand cut cups with a side of aioli. The burger bursts with delicious flavours, from the smokiness of the affumicata cheese, to the tangy house made BBQ sauce.IMG_7656

An unexpected crackling noise is coming from my Salmon Aburi ($15) as the waiter brings it to our table. My dish is not only topped with black fish roe – it is also garnished with popping candy! The torched salmon belly is absolutely sensational. The fish is marinated with delicious teriyaki flavours and sits atop a small mound of rice. The different textures, including the popping, work really well together. I love the dish. I could have easily eaten another plateful. IMG_7648

There’s some fantastic Asian fusion coming out of the kitchen. It comes as no surprise that Head Chef Luke Lee has also worked at Nobu. The sushi “spider rolls” ($23) are stuffed with soft shell crab, julienned apple, cucumber and lettuce. The plating of the eight rolls is funky – garnished with some vibrant edible flowers. The dish tastes as fresh as it looks. The finely sliced apple compliments the seafood flavours well.IMG_7664

I’ve encountered a few questioning looks when taking food photos with my big camera lens. A new one on me was our waiter jumping into the frame to photobomb my sushi photo! Our waiter was charming and was full of friendly banter. The service at the Shipping Lane was excellent.IMG_7675

There’s not many places in Perth where you can get top notch sushi without being at a Japanese restaurant. At The Shipping Lane, you get the best of both worlds, a modern Australian menu, coupled with some mouth-watering Japanese delights.IMG_7677

At a glance

■ The Shipping Lane

4/1 Freeman Loop

North Fremantle

Phone 9468 7362

■ Opening times

7 days – 7am till late

■ Rating

food 4

service 4

ambience 4

value for money 4

■ style – Australian & Japanese

■ wine – BYO

■ Chef – Luke Lee

■ Owners – various

■ feel – coastal chic

■ wheelchair access – yes

■ cost – brunch $9 – $27

sushi $15 – $23

dinner – $31 – $37

■ all in all – a cool new

coastal venue. Excellent

Japanese dishes.

Great service.

**First Published in the Post Newspaper**

Samsons Paddock – Mosman Park

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Samsons Paddock on Urbanspoon

My father-in-law, who is also a chef, has a rule – never dine at a brand new restaurant. He recommends giving any new restaurant a good couple of months to iron out the creases and really hit their stride. Despite this, Chef and I dine at newbie “Samsons Paddock” in Mosman Park when it was still finding its feet. It has been open a mere six weeks. We were there to review it for the Post newspaper – something that I absolutely relish.IMG_7370

We’re warmly greeted and given a choice of places to sit, the dining room, outside or in the bar. We choose the long wooden communal table in the bar area. The exposed brick walls and the hanging industrial light fittings look great and there is a real warmth about the space. That warmth is also extended to the outdoor courtyard, where there are red-brick fireplaces and lots of seating scattered with funky, bright cushions. There is blues-y music in the background, which gives the bar a southern American vibe. The interior has that rustic look that so many places do now – but since Sampson’s Paddock is steeped in history – it really works. IMG_7366

In the early 1840s, Lionel Samson purchased the land where the bar now stands for a princely sum of 10 pounds. He farmed the land, the locals nicknamed it “Samson’s Paddock”. It was perfectly positioned on the Fremantle to Perth route – so the entrepreneurial Samson turned Samson’s Paddock into a popular watering hole for both horseman and horse.

IMG_7367The menu is like a novel! It comes in the form of a book. Chapter one is an interesting history of the building. In chapter two, you’ll find the menu, which is designed to share. Chapter three is an extensive and still evolving drinks menu. Sampson’s has a good selection of mainly local wine, including some premium wines available by the glass. There is also an excellent collection of whiskies.IMG_7403

We choose chicken & almond albondigas ($17) from the small plates menu. The chicken meatballs are extremely fragrant. They are sitting in a little dish of Catalan sorfito – a deliciously rich Spanish tomato and onion sauce. Though tasty, I am put-off by finding tiny pieces of cartilage in each ball. It’s a shame, as otherwise it’s great dish – but that stops us from finishing it off.IMG_7382

The char grilled porterhouse tasting board ($59), is fit for any carnivore, with a whopping four different types of steak. The tasting notes advise you to eat the steaks in a particular order – veal, then the grain fed steak, the grass fed and finally the wagu beef. We taste each piece au natural, then add some zesty gremolata to the next piece to see the difference in taste. The veal is tender. There’s a noticeable difference between the grain and grass fed cuts, the grass fed being much stronger in flavour. Of course the wagu is top notch – with a wonderful buttery flavour. On the side are roast veg and hand cut chips. We relish every morsel.IMG_7381

I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the stuffed calamari ($25) is chewy, but the calamari tubes are not as tender as I would have hoped. The spinach stuffing is spot on, as is the mouth-watering combination of creamy blue cheese sauce with mushroom grits.IMG_7377

The saffron panna cotta ($15) is wibbly-wobbly perfection. A big dollop of scrumptious hazelnut ganache sits on top, finished with raspberry jelly. A delectable dessert!IMG_7393

Chef thinks he has died and gone to chocolate heaven as he devours the Mississippi mud pie ($15). A slice of incredibly dense pie is garnished with strawberries and a creamy anglaise, which has a subtle flavour of rosemary.IMG_7389

Though the food isn’t finely tuned yet – the excellent venue makes up for its shortcomings. IMG_7402

Whether you visit Samsons Paddock for share food and drinks or pre-drinks before heading somewhere else for dinner – it is well worth a visit. The restaurant and bar is a welcome addition to the leafy Glyde Street – which is fast becoming a western suburbs foodie destination – also home of the excellent Suburban Table and FUKU Okamese restaurants.IMG_7405

Eagle Falls Spur Steak and Grill – Drovers, Wanneroo

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Eagle Falls Spur Steak and Grill on Urbanspoon

I have a confession to make… though Spur is an international chain restaurant, I had never heard of it, let alone been in one. We have a couple of Spurs in WA – the existing franchises are both “south of the river”. The South African owned steak house has opened this week in our stomping ground – the Drovers complex on Wanneroo Road, near Carramar.

When I visit a restaurant that is only a few days old, like Spur, I like to give it the benefit of the doubt. All the staff are new and still learning the ropes – there can be teething troubles. At Spur all they were guilty of was being eager to take our order and our plates and glasses, which is nothing really that bad at all. The wait staff were all very friendly and helpful.

The building that never quite reached its full potential as “3 Leaves restaurant” and “Drovers Café” has had a fantastic a fantastic fit out. The theming is around American Indians – think tepees, feathers and that sort of thing. The huge restaurant, which seats 300+, looks great.

J and I were caught up for a coffee and light lunch before the school run.

I think the proof in the pudding will really be how good their steaks and ribs are. Being lunchtime I wasn’t feeling up to a big slab of meat, so chose a Caesar salad – reasonably priced at $14.95. It was simple. Everything was crisp, I thought the quality of the bacon and the parmesan cheese could have been better – but for the price it was a decent portion size.Untitledkkk

J ate a generous plate of nachos with all the accompaniments $15.95 with beef n beans for an added $2.95.untitled1

If you have children they will enjoy the playground at Spur. There is a large fenced off kids area. That is due to open tomorrow (Thurs 4th Sept). The kids menu is well priced and kids even eat free on Monday and Tuesdays.

Spur is a casual family restaurant. Whilst the food isn’t spectacular – probably in the same vein as Hogs Breath Café – If you enjoy that, you should like Spur.

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Alphabet Soup – Pop Up Restaurant {CLOSED}

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The pop up movement has taken over the world and Perth has fully embraced it. It would seem the more temporary the venue, the cooler it invariably is. Alphabet Soup Dining, a new Perth pop up restaurant, is the epitome of this. Popping up on Wednesday nights in Subiaco and soon moving around to other inner city suburbs of Perth.

Alphabet Soup is the wonderful creation of Chef Melissa Palinkas (Head Chef of The Cabin Small Bar) and Susan Whelan –  who runs the front of house with ease. The basic concept of this pop up restaurant is that each six course menu is focused around a certain ingredient. Its used on each and every dish. Last month the theme was “B for Beetroot”. Chef and I were dining the first night of the “C for Citrus” menu.

We found Alphabet Soup at Milk’d on a Subiaco side street. Milk’d café is a coffee haunt by day and usually shut at night. But not on this night! I like the idea of using a space that would ordinarily not be open. There was a warm ambiance with lots of candles and soup tins adorning the “Alphabet Soup” logo. We were greeted by Susan and joined other fellow diners, excited to see what was in store!

I looked at the menu in anticipation. Susan brought out something to nibble on – some citric pepper seasoned popcorn – so tasty! I made a mental note to myself that it would be a fab healthy snack to make at home.

The preserved lemon chicken bomb was, ahem, the bomb! We squeezed in the little tube of sauce and popped the morsel in our mouths – it was scrumptious.

Fremantle octopus with grapefruit mojo, finger lime and black saltIMG_1995
When we eat out, Chef avoids octopus like the plague, as he finds it chewy. Thinking about it, I don’t think I can truly say I’ve ever had an octopus dish that I’ve enjoyed – until now. It was sliced so paper thin it melted in the mouth. That’s how octopus should be served! It was an absolute surprise and we both thought it was a cracking little dish. The saltiness of the seafood and the sweet citrus worked well. We just love finger limes.

Mandarin sweet n sour duck shank with a carrot cream, topped with crispy shallotsIMG_1999
WOW! If there’s something we find Mellissa does exceedingly well its game meats – we’ve had excellent rabbit, quail and duck at The Cabin. I loved this duck shank (leg) and it had such a depth of flavour. Our favourite dish of the night!

Choko slaw with crab, lemon ponzu, citrus segments, herbs, cashews and black sesameIMG_2001
Great dish!

Linley Valley Pork Belly with quince a l’orange and salted desert lime
The pork belly was cooked to perfection, with a slither of crunchy crackle on. It was so tasty and left me wanting more! I’d been so focused on devouring the pork, I’d almost missed the odd look Chef was giving me. I popped some more food into my mouth and then realised why – he was waiting for me to try the salted desert lime. It was indeed salty and very tart. I first ate the desert lime on its own, then I had it along with the quince, so the sweetness of the fruit balanced out the salty taste. It was much better second time round!

Citrus S’mores – Blow torch marshmallow – lemon biscuit – yuzu foam – choc orange
I love the American comfort food s’mores (marshmallow and biscuit). The jaffa version was very more-ish! A fab little dessert.

Cheddar shortbread with lime & pepper goats cheese and an olive oil caviar
The final course – the cheese course – was lovely. The cheesy shortbread was crumbled, so eating it with the creamy goat’s cheese and little pearls of olive oil was a breeze. A great way to end a delicious meal.

Clearly Melissa has a passion for cooking. Most Chefs do – but this is another level. Head Chef of The Cabin, a favourite food spot of Chef and I, Melissa is now prepping and cooking on her days off too. That is absolute dedication!! You can really feel that love of food with each dish that is sent out from her kitchen, be it The Cabin’s or now at Alphabet Soup.

We’d recommend that you visit. Currently running on a Wednesday night, you will have to get in quick to secure a booking. This week’s dinner (June 11th) is sold out. At the Milk’d venue it’s BYO. Check out http://www.alphabetsoupdining.com/ to see current location, details and menu, it changes regularly.

Melissa’s aim is “to deliver several small courses of flavour bomb food”. The food certainly lives up to that – Melissa has an excellent pallet. Thank you to Susan and Melissa for having us dine as their guests. We thoroughly enjoyed it and it was a pleasure to meet you both!

The Brown Fox – West Perth {CLOSED}

A decade ago this West Perth bar was a haunt of mine, for after-work drinks on a Friday. Back then it was a decadent place, called The Onyx Bar. In fact, before Onyx, it was called CY O’Connors and I remember having a few cheeky long Friday lunches there with my workmates at Gwalia. In 2011 it had a complete re-vamp and became The Brown Fox. It’s not a plush and swanky bar now –though that’s not to say it doesn’t have a luxurious feel to it. Its cosy pub-style charm is mixed with chandeliers and pressed tin ceilings.

Friday night drinks at The Brown Fox are still as popular as ever. There’s a merry atmosphere of workers celebrating the start of the weekend and live music. We enjoy the bluesy tones of a certain singer Eve B – who has backing vocals on Nicki Minaj’s last album to her credit. She’s found at the Brown Fox on Friday nights, accompanied by accomplished musicians (Simon Paparo the night we visited) – at the moment her partner in crime is life-long friend Jeff Mann.

We arrive and as the sign at the door suggests we “wait to be seated”. After a minute or two it soon becomes apparent that no one is going to greet us – Chef and I decide to sit in the floral carpeted dining area, in a booth. We’re a bit confused whether there is table service or not, so we order drinks at the bar and grab some menus. Quick as a flash, a waiter arrives to take our food order, but we need more time.

The menu is typical of a suburban pub – BLT, fish and chips, steak sarnies and the like. Chef and I choose a charcuterie board ($34) to start with. Out comes a wooden board brimming with smoked chicken, chorizo, prosciutto, olives, marinated capsicum, candied nuts, blue cheese, smoked cheddar and toasted ciabatta.

Before the charcuterie board has time to be devoured, the waiter brings us our mains, with apologies for the quick arrival. I ponder that the service is generally very quick – much like the brown fox in the typing exercise back in our school days; “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog”.

Though we didn’t get an explanation for the rush, Chef explains that this occasionally happens when part of an order is missed and something gets added on – thus throwing the timings out. In this case, we think perhaps they didn’t treat the charcuterie plate as an entrée – since at The Brown Fox the menu reads “Share Food” and “Mains”. The dining room isn’t full, so it’s safe to say they aren’t purposely hurrying us.

I’m looking for some comfort food on this cool autumn night. The Lamb shanks ($28) are cooked in a deeply rich tomato and red wine sauce – it is the perfect choice. The tender shanks are accompanied by some well-cooked seasonal veg and garlic mash – which is ever so creamy.

Chef choses the rib eye steak ($36) with beef jus, seasonal vegetables and a ginormous potato cake on the side. The equally large rib eye is cooked perfectly medium-rare and is a tasty bit of meat. Chef thinks the thyme-loaded potato cake is delicious.

The wine list is mostly local, with a few SA and NZ wines added for good measure. I choose the Lazy Dog Cider, which is made in the on-site cidery, from Sundowner and Pink Lady apples. Owners, Greg and Ant, are very enthusiastic about their brew. They hold a monthly Cider Club at the Brown Fox.

All in all we enjoy the Brown Fox for what it is – pub food with style.

The Cabin Small Bar

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The Cabin Small Bar on Urbanspoon

I’d known about The Cabin Small Bar since it opened to rave reviews a couple of years ago. The “problem” we face in the rapid growth of Perth’s dining scene, is that there just simply are not enough meals in the week to go to each and every one of the new restaurants and bars. Believe me I’ve been giving it my best shot!! Finally, espresso martini in hand, I found myself in the cosy ski lodge style cabin.

The Cabin is a little inconspicuous, we drove straight past. It sits above a homeware shop at the Mount Hawthorn end of Scarborough Beach Road. You can sit indoors on a Chesterfield sofa (whilst being overlooked by a deer head) or outside on the wrap-around balcony.

IMG_0798I loved the vibe of the Cabin. It was relaxed and a little funky. Beautiful wooden tables and retro fixtures are complimented by a very modern menu. The music playlist was very eclectic and we really enjoyed the mix of everything from The Beatles to 90s house music to the Smashing Pumpkins and other random tunes. The wine and cocktail lists were excellent – cue martini!

UntitledbbChef Melissa Palinkas has created a menu of small and large plates which are designed to share. The wait staff are very knowledgeable. Without being prompted they will fill you in on whether each dish has enough for everyone on the table. They’re really on the ball and friendly too.

UntitledkkkWe dined with Mr & Mrs S on a Wednesday, which was lucky for us. The Wednesday special was A – mazing! Roasted duck wings, sticky with a sweet n sour glaze, topped with crispy shallots & green onions were SO GOOD. Chicken wings? Don’t even bother! Duck wings are where it’s at! A plate was $22 and was accompanied with a bottle of Anchor Steam Lager.

IMG_0786As a bunny lover I had never eaten rabbit before. Having them as pets when I was little, it just seemed wrong – like eating my Labrador. Chef has been trying to get me to give it a go for years and I finally gave into peer pressure. I enjoyed it. That said, the Southern fried rabbit, wasn’t as game-y as I had expected, since it was covered in herbs and spices too. It was served on a steamed bun with pickled carrot and a red curry mayonnaise ($15)

Untitled'''The House ocean trout pastrami, pulled mozzarella, heirloom tomatoes, olive croutes, tomato vinaigrette ($25) was a beautiful and delicate dish.

We also really enjoyed;

IMG_0779Abrolhos Islands’ scallops, hot sauce butter, chicken cracklings ($24)

UntitledccCrispy lamb belly, migas, adobo, macadamia ($22)

UntitledQuail breast Kiev’s, parmesan gremolata, dill mayonnaise ($24)

We left with full tummies – no room to even look at the dessert (for one) menu. Next time!

Even when I love a place I rarely return, as at the moment there’s always somewhere else to try around town. It just happens to be a certain chefs wife’ birthday soon. I’ll shortly be making another visit to The Cabin, as I think it’s a fantastic venue for some cocktails and great food with friends. I’m awfully tempted to pretend my birthday is on a Wednesday – just to get my mitts on some more of those scrumptious duck wings!!Untitledm

Suburban Table {CLOSED}

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Suburban Table on Urbanspoon

It’s just weeks before my little blogs 1st birthday and boy; it’s come a long way in just 12 short months! I took a giant leap recently. I’d been approached to do a spot of food writing for The Post Newspaper – the local paper to Perth’s western suburbs (Cottesloe, Claremont, Subi, Dalkeith etc). It’s such an exciting opportunity, and though it was fairly new to me, I decided to go for it! My brief was simple; dine at a restaurant in the local area and also to keep it BRIEF! I had just 450 words to describe our meal. This for me was a challenge, as I often tend to dribble on a bit! Chef and I looked forward to our meal at the Suburban Table – a restaurant we knew very little about.

UntitledstI remember reading about Suburban Table a few years ago. They were going through every chef and restaurateur’s worst nightmare. The kitchen was gutted by an electrical fire, started by the dishwasher. Their dining room was damaged by heat and smoke. The popular Mosman Park restaurant had to be closed for six months, whilst being fully renovated. There was also a change in owner. Chef Josh Prosser took the reins, along with his partner Kelly Cosnett.

Chef and I easily found the Stirling Highway restaurant, though it is a little inconspicuous in a row of shops. The entry is from the rear car park. We were warmly welcomed by Kelly, who runs the front of house. We were seated in the window, which was framed by a row of chilli plants. Kelly took our drinks from us to pop into the fridge, as it’s BYO (corkage $7 per bottle/6pack). What a great excuse to have that special bottle of wine that’s been sitting in the wine rack!

IMG_0738Local artwork, which changes bimonthly, adorns the walls. The dining room, full of leather (faux?) and dark wood, felt very cosy and intimate. It was clear that many of our fellow diners were regulars at Suburban Table. The staff called them by their first names, like they were old friends. There were many waves being exchanged between tables too. I felt like we’d gone to a friend’s house for dinner.

UntitledaFor entrée Chef had Plump Rottnest scallops ($22) were served with a fresh mango and coriander salsa. The flavours were balanced flawlessly, with a subtle kick of chilli.

IMG_0747I chose the spring roll ($13) served with a star anise dipping sauce. It was absolutely delicious. Crispy on the outside and bursting with pork belly, Asian veg and vermicelli noodles.

IMG_0755For main, Chef had the beef fillet ($40). This was a great piece of meat, which was cooked perfectly, served with a garlic mash and creamy mushroom ragout. On reflection, he thinks that he should have ordered a side of asparagus to complete the dish.

IMG_0761I really enjoyed the chili caramel glazed pork belly ($35). I just can’t go past a bit of crackling! The crunchy Asian salad that accompanied it was dotted with little gems of pomegranate and coated with a Thai dressing, with a fresh zing of lime. It was a very tasty dish.

IMG_0762We had just enough room in our tummies to peruse the dessert menu. Chef had the scrumptious chocolate brownie ($12/$15 with gelato). He wolfed it down with gusto. The rich, moist brownie served with black cherry compote was complimented by the house-made espresso gelato. Chef thought it was a top notch dessert.

IMG_0764I chose something a little lighter, the delightful vanilla and lemon crème brulee ($12).

I feel that Suburban Table has been flying under the radar. I’m sure the locals are happy to keep it their little secret. I can’t recommend it enough. The food is simple, but very well executed. Much of the produce is sourced locally, to ensure its freshness and also to support fellow local businesses. We visited on a Wednesday and though the dining room is small, it was fully booked. We’d both happily return for dinner in the future for Josh’s well cooked food and the excellent, friendly service.IMG_0744

 

Restaurant Amusé, East Perth {CLOSED}

Restaurant Amuse on Urbanspoon

If there’s something I’ve learned in seven years of marriage it’s that my husband is AWFUL at keeping a surprise from me – it’s never 100% a surprise. If he’s reading this, he will think this is quite the revelation (sorry Chef). But not too much gets past me; especially when he keeps slipping out little tit bits here and there. On this occasion Chef told me a month in advance NOT to organise anything for our anniversary, as he’d booked dinner. Fantastic. I was stoked.

My one clue was – it was somewhere I’d never eaten at before. I was very excited and racking my brain. My Perth “to dine at” list is as long as my arm. Over the next few weeks, Chef accidentally dropped a few more clues. It was a degustation menu – so that narrowed it down somewhat. I’d then shortlisted the possibilities to about 10 venues. The night before our dinner he suggested that we go to The Royal, in East Perth for a pre-dinner drink. Arrgh!!! That was the clincher. From that seemingly harmless comment, Chef had pretty much told me where we were going. Sure, there were a couple of other possibilities, but based on the proximity of The Royal – it just HAD to be Restaurant Amuse!!

Tucked away down a quiet inner city residential street is the nationally renowned restaurant. From the moment we stepped through the doors we were given a very warm welcome. We’ve dined at many a fine dining and Michelin starred restaurant – many of them are stuffy, snooty affairs. At Amuse – we felt at ease within the cosy and stylishly modern dining room. It was busier that I had expected for a Tuesday night, but then this is an incredibly popular restaurant; with a 3 month wait for Saturday nights.

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pic from http://www.restaurantamuse.com.au/

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pic from http://www.restaurantamuse.com.au/

Chef Hadleigh Troy has run Restaurant Amuse with his wife Carolynne since 2007. Carolynne runs the front of house and she greeted us after we were sat at our table. She asked us if we had any dietary requirements, as well as wishing us a happy anniversary. Carolynne also left us with the dilemma – to look at the neatly folded brown menu or not to look? I stared at the little piece of paper for some time and eventually came to the conclusion that it would be wonderful to let each of the 10 courses come to us as a surprise! Even if you do have a peek – each course is listed just with the 3 key ingredients – so it doesn’t give too much away!

At this point I should mention that due to using my camera phone, not my usual DSLR camera, the pics do not do the beautiful dishes justice at all. I have to admit, I was enjoying this special meal with my husband so much, that I’d taken off my bloggers hat for the night. Well… partially at least!

The staff were incredibly professional. They were very well versed with what the culinary creations on our plate were – including details like where the produce had been sourced from. We found it very interesting. Chef also liked that some of the courses were brought out by the chefs, instead of just the waiters and they also gave a very thorough rundown of what exactly it was that we had before us. We started with some drinkies and fresh Sour dough and butter. House made – of course! The bread was presented on top of a bowl of hot rocks, to keep it just a little warm. The delicious butter that melts as soon as it hits the bread is house made too; using Bannister Downs Cream. It’s smoked, then whipped and sprinkled with black sea salt – it’s so deliciously simple.

Oats and Limes, Carrot and Walnut Beautiful Crudités!!

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Pumpkin and curry leaf This was soup was mousse-like in texture, with a little kick of spiciness.

pumpkin curryl

Marron, Apple and Balsamic   The Blue Ridge marron claw from Manjimup was great. The flavours worked so well together on this dish. We loved the tasty morsels od crumbed sweetbread too.

Mushroom, roelle and mustard A very tasty mushroom broth, I’ve not had such a delicious broth since I dined at ARIA in Sydney.

Egg, Peas and Parmesan  This dish was a favourite. It was very Heston-esque. Its Hadleigh’s signature dish. It came in a jar and when you opened the lid the infused smoke poured out. The free range Margaret River egg was sous vide (cooked in a temperature controlled water bath) at 62.5degrees. It was only just set and deliciously runny. The contrasting crispy chicken skin garnish was sublime. IMG_20131015_214840

Asparagus, Trout and Oyster This was delicious. I’d never had white asparagus before; the seasonal ingredient has a very delicate flavour.IMG_20131015_215210

Sweet corn, bacon and Kimichi This was one of Chefs favourite dishes. The flavours really popped and the attention to detail (like the finely chopped sweet corn) was superb.photo56

Arkady Lamb, onion and buttermilk The Margaret River lamb was DIVINE. The depth of flavour of the lamb was out of this world. I was wishing that there was a whole plate of it – as I would have eaten it all!

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Rustleberry and lemon myrtle The rustleberry is typical of the foraged local WA ingredients used at Amuse. This variety of berry, only discovered in 2006, is unique to the Southern Forests region (Manjimup).

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Mandarin, coconut and artichoke Delish! IMG_20131015_214957

Chocolate almond and crème fraiche An absolutely scrumptious dessert! So many different textures – fantastic!

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Mint and pepper berry This tea was very refreshing and by this point that was all we could manage! We were very full and very satisfied!!

We both enjoyed our dinner at Amuse immensely. Chef’s roots are in fine dining – he did his apprenticeship at Gershwin’s at the Hyatt and then went on to the UK for a couple of years at a Michelin star restaurant. Indulging in such a special meal is something we love to do, but don’t treat ourselves enough! The degustation only menu changes regularly. I’m already wishing to go back very soon, much sooner than our next wedding anniversary!!

At $130pp for ten courses it is worth every cent. Not only is it a fabulous dinner, but an experience. We can’t wait to see what Hadleigh and his talented team have in store next time. We were certainly amused and delighted – HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!

** Restaurant Amuse is in the Perth 2014/15 Entertainment Book – $40 off total bill with gold card**

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